When it came time for Ward 15 Councilman Brian Cummins to introduce his constituents at tonight's Cleveland City Council meeting, around two hundred residents of Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre enthusiastically rose to their feet to convey their power in numbers and communicate that they will not accept the current redistricting plan for their neighborhoods.
More than fifty residents from each community braved a chilly lakefront breeze to participate in a pre-meeting protest at the steps of Cleveland City Hall, bearing signs saying "We are neighbors, not numbers," "Don't Sweeneymander Our Wards," and "Don't Cut Up Our Neighborhoods." After about forty-five minutes of shouting various slogans, Cummins arrived outside to address the loyal group. His message was that, as someone who has served the residents of Ward 15 as the executive director of Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation and council representative, the deep personal relationships he has established over the last decade have propelled him to fight in the best interest of the neighborhoods.
During the council meeting, Cummins expressed to leadership his dissatisfaction in how the redistricting process has been performed with highly political motives and without citizen input.
But probably the most exciting news of the evening for Old Brooklyn residents was that Councilman Cummins spent around three hours with consultants this afternoon crafting an alternative redistricting plan that would divide their neighborhood into only two or three wards.
Click here to watch WEWS Channel 5's video and here to read Henry Gomez's article in his Inside City Hall blog on cleveland.com.
UPDATE: Here's another piece from Henry Gomez.